The Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children (SBCWC) was opened in 1999 in response to the high rates of violence against women and children on the Cape Flats near Cape Town. We provide essential, cost-free services 365 days a year to abused women and children employing a comprehensive range of services for the effective treatment and prevention of violence against women and children.
We were the first ‘one-stop’ centre in South Africa.
The Centre’s multi-disciplinary service provides an opportunity for organisations to come together as partners to develop an appropriate on-site multi-agency service delivery model for the effective management, treatment and prevention of violence against women and children. It also works in partnership with government departments and the non-governmental sector.
SBCWC has evolved to be the prime learning site nationally for providing holistic, integrated services to survivors of violence. Some of the services provided are managed directly by the Saartjie Baartman Centre. These include a 24-hour crisis response programme; a residential shelter programme and transitional housing for abused women and their children; a psycho-social support programme including a children’s counselling programme; a substance abuse programme and accredited job-skills training programmes for our clients.
We have been fortunate to have been selected as the organisation to pilot the Khuseleka model, a multi-sectoral approach in collaboration with key government departments and institutions designed to uphold all basic victim rights as encapsulated in the South African Victims Charter and the UN Conventions protecting the rights of women and children.
Our statistics have revealed that a large percentage of our clients accessing services and seeking shelter are either using, abusing or addicted to some form of substance. This hinders the recovery process and based on these findings we have recently launched two new units within the centre, namely, an orientation unit and substance abuse unit which will serve our clients’ needs comprehensively and effectively.
The vision of the SBCWC is the creation of a safe and secure society within a human rights culture, where women and children are empowered and live in a violence-free society.
The mission of the SBCWC, as a human rights-based, non-governmental organisation, is to provide a comprehensive range of services that are accessible and safe to women and children by:
- Working in partnership with organisations that advocate ending violence against women and children
- Providing 24-hour emergency shelter, short and medium term residential care, and childcare services
- Providing mental health support, as well as legal and economic empowerment services
- Conducting research that will inform intervention strategies and best practices in the gender-based violence sector.
We have established an integrated and comprehensive one-stop centre for women and children who are survivors of gender-based violence.
- The establishment of a relevant and effective one-stop centre partnership that provides client-centred services to women and child survivors of violence.
- The provision of a comprehensive range of services for abused women and children, which is effectively co-ordinated among partner organisations.
- The establishment, through research, of a best practice intervention model to challenge and end violence against women and children.
- The provision of effective community outreach work to end violence against women and children through prevention and awareness programmes.
- The development of an effective networking relationship with other organisations, networks and tertiary institutions that advocate and seek an end to violence against women and children.
Geographical location and reach:
The Centre is situated in Manenberg on the Cape Flats in the Western Cape of South Africa, an area with extremely high rates of crime, gangsterism, child abuse, unemployment, substance abuse and domestic violence. There are few resources available in Manenberg and the surrounding areas and as a result the Centre provides services to a wide range of constituencies: neighbouring townships, farming communities, and 'informal' settlements. The Centre assists in the development of other shelters and services, particularly in rural areas. We also have a national reach, assisting women and children from different provinces who become aware of us through our media campaigns and networking as well as our advocacy and lobbying programme.
Women, youth and children experiencing domestic and/or sexual violence in their lives and those needing assistance to prevent further abuse and sustainable assistance to end the violence. Other beneficiaries are like minded organisations, stakeholders and the community at large.
Our collaborations, networks and partnerships:
- Victim Empowerment Programme
- National Shelter Movement
- Western Cape Women’s Shelter Movement
- Government Partners – Department of Social Development, Department of Public Works, Department of Community Safety, Department of Justice and the Department of Education.
- Civil Society Organisation Partners: Other shelters as well as other like-minded organisation namely, Ibn Sina Institute of Tibb, Safeline, Mahani Gingi and the Wheat Trust.
Violence against women is a global pandemic. Without exception, a woman's greatest risk of violence is from someone she knows. Domestic violence is a violation of a woman's right to physical integrity, to liberty, and all too often, to her right to life itself. While South Africa has one of the most progressive and inclusive Constitutions in the world, with a Bill of Rights proclaimed to be the cornerstone of democracy, the incidence of violence against women continues to escalate to alarming proportions. Protection against such abuse is limited at best and perpetrators continue to enjoy widespread immunity.
Intimate partner violence is a serious social problem that has been gaining public concern both in South African society and around the globe over the past few decades. The problem is so complicated and complex that any single discipline can only address a small piece of the big picture. Domestic violence not only influences one's physical and mental health, but it also has profound effects on one's social functioning, welfare, and legal status. Fragmented approaches to the formulation of preventive strategies may only touch on the surface of individual disciplines, and therefore hamper their overall effectiveness. Integrated approaches that involve a multi sectoral and multi-disciplinary approach are more effective in tackling the pandemic.